Words by Alexandra Radifera
There are a handful of people that can be named right in the community of the University of Oregon that are recognized for incorporating their passions into their future, Brendan Delaney is one of them.
Teaching himself flips and parkour tricks at the young age of 14, Delaney has loved high action and extreme sports for as long as he can remember. His home in San José, California, gave him all the outdoor space he could imagine as a beginner who relentlessly pushed himself. He didn’t always have the black spandex leggings and long sleeve shirt, topped with shorts and a red Vyncher shirt, that you would see him jumping off of cliffs in now. Instead, he wore whatever clothes he could move best in, and whichever surface was highest at the moment.
As expected, his parents were always kept on their toes looking out for Delaney, but maybe more than the average parent. Delaney lost most of his hearing at a young age and has to be extremely cautious with his head so that he doesn’t lose his hearing completely. He was advised to stray from contact sports, involving tackling, diving, and any other way his head could be hit; to live cautiously. But extreme caution is far from Delaney's world.
Despite the risk of losing his hearing forever, Delaney went against advice from doctors to stay away from radical sports. Delaney has a natural passion for exploration, and nothing was going to stop him, not even a potential major head injury. His roof, skate parks, and benches became too familiar - he had mastered them and seeked a greater challenge. And while his friends and family were also well aware of the risks, they were also extremely aware of the happiness that was brought to Delaney by exploring, experimenting, mastering, and sharing what he had done. So as opposed to stopping him, they made sure to support him and make sure he was on the right and safe path to success.
Before he ended up as a student of Journalism and Communications at the University of Oregon, he was a business major at a community college in his hometown San Jose, California for one year. He learned this was not the place for him, and moved to Eugene as an undeclared student at Lane Community College for his second year of school, and then eventually applied to the University of Oregon to finish his college career.
A large influence towards Delaney's immediate interest in journalism is his small company Vyncher. In 2016, Delaney and his friends realized they shared a natural passion for filmmaking, for storytelling, and that they had the capabilities to tell their own stories, “so naturally we filmed everything we did,” said Delaney. The man behind the camera Jacob Phillips, scout of the locations Andrew Levitt, adventurous soul David Clark and dare-devil Brendan Delaney became a dream team of storytellers and content creators and, thus, Vyncher was born. A large influence towards Delaney's immediate interest in journalism this small company - an adventure driven media group made up of Delaney and his high school best friends. “I know that in some way shape or form I want to tell stories forever. And in order to tell stories you have to make them, which I think is the perfect situation to be in," said Delaney. "I love making memories and I believe life is a collection of experiences, so I want to make the most. So as long as I am making memories with the people I love and sharing them, I will be happy.” Their company originally came together when Brendan started teaching himself parkour, an activity where one aims to get from point A to point B with complex steps, around their hometown, San José, California. Vyncher was exciting for the boys and they saw grand potential for it, but to be whole-heartedly invested in the company, the boys had to keep one factor in mind: Brendan’s hearing loss.
Delaney took his first big dive off of a 40 foot cliff during his high school senior trip to Kauai, Hawaii, which landed him in the hospital. This was a reality check for Delaney, as it made him realize truly how much he loved the thrill and adventure of high-risk activities. At the same time, he and his friends decided they weren’t going to stop doing what they loved but they had to proceed with extra caution.
With the help and support of his family and friends, Brendan found a way to continue his passions in a safer manner. Brendan and his friends continued to explore and ins-and-outs of San José, and eventually with the help of summer jobs and Vyncher, a lot of the world. “I have always been a believer that the best parts of life are making experiences with people who are important to you,” says Brendan. “Having these experiences are amazing just by itself but then to be able to share them with people makes it even cooler.”
It is all of these passions in his life coming together - adventure, storytelling, media - that led Delaney to his pursuit of journalism, but more so it is the strategic way he had to go about his passions that brought him to this point in his life. Katie Mack is an advertising major and Delaney's girlfriend of a little over a year. She says Brendan will not quit cliff diving, and that reflects on this personality as well. “He will never stop pushing the limits," she says. "On everything he does he’s a risk taker and that won’t go away when cliff jumping does.”
Delaney’s drive for adventure is a constant in his life. “I think a large part of my adventurous drive that has transferred to my 'career' or field of interest is my love to tell stories. I’ve always loved telling stories and sharing them with others," he says, "whether that be to just simply tell the story or rather to inspire others.” He is a prime example of allowing your drive and passions to influence your future without hesitation. While risking your life may not be the most conventional way to get to a successful career, Delaney’s story shows that taking a quite literal leap of faith can land you in your perfect pool of water.